Cycling: After two exciting races in Chile and Scotland, the Enduro World Series returns to the French Alps next weekend - back to the roots of Enduro sport.
Valloire, on the notorious Galibier Pass in the Northern Alps, will be the starting point for world-class racing. The trails around Valloire are no strangers to this. The French enduro series have been guests there for over ten years and have been able to impress with challenging single trails and a breathtaking view over the mountains.
"Our constant goal", says Enduro World Series General Manager Chris Ball, "It is to present the drivers with new challenges and to offer them variety, so that it is always a special experience. So we leave behind the long liaison stages, the many days of training in Scotland and the deep soft Chilean sands of Nevados de Chillan and head into the French Alps. Valloire probably offers the steepest and longest descents of the year. It's a test to keep finding the best mountain bikers in the world.”
Nico Lau is therefore on home soil and will go into the race with an extra dose of self-confidence thanks to his victory in Scotland. As the overall leader of the Enduro World Series, he's the one to beat. And that's exactly what they're going to try, the top contenders for victory: Australia's Jared Graves in the lead. Last year, the EWS made three guest appearances in France. Graves was able to finish on the podium twice and just missed victory. With his less than satisfactory result from Scotland, he will be hungrier than ever to claim his first win. But Justin Leov, Joe Barnes and Martin Maes are also among the favourites.
Nicolas Vouilloz, the ten-time downhill world champion, announced his big comeback for Valloire. The experienced Frenchman has mastered alpine racing like no other. He won in Val d'Allos last year ahead of Jared Graves and Greg Minnaar.
The women's race is currently dominated by Anne-Caroline Chausson and Tracy Moseley. Both were able to win one race each and are tied in the overall standings. But Cecile Ravanel's performance curve is also pointing upwards. She comes to Valloire from Scotland with a good result and wants to build on that.